Cari and I get asked frequently by those who see our two van camp, which we affectionately call our “Two Van Caravan”, the big question… Why TWO!? This post shares some of our ideas, beyond the initial in-jest; “BFF’s with Benefits” response. During the 2019 winter months we traveled, as originally intended, with both vans. Those who’ve followed along know we have a 2010 Chevy Express AWD (Link to Chevy build details) with several mods to make it as trail ready and comfortable as that platform allows.
The second van, a 2017 Promaster, was purchased prior to my 60th birthday and professionally up-fitted to our specs by a local shop as detailed in this post (Link to Promaster build details).
Knowing we wanted a tad more room in camp, but also knowing from experience we did not want to tow we purchased the additional van in 2017. We had a 13ft fiberglass trailer for two years and did not like the restrictions. Below is a photo of the Chevy pulling the Parkliner back in 2014:
In August of 2018, one month before retirement, we sold the 43ft fifth wheel tiny-house we’d called home for a few years while wrapping up our careers. Here is a photo parked long term at an RV/Golf Resort on the Oregon coast:
We then moved into our vans and hit the road in October 2018. Except for four months during the 2019 summer season we have traveled in both vans.
Typically, I drive in front with the Chevy and Cari follows in the Promaster. We keep in 2way radio contact via simple FRS radios/headset-mics and have found this tech allows for a fun, ongoing spontaneous chat while on the road.
One thing we will experiment with during the drive south is not only will we coordinate and share GPS data for destinations as in the past, but we will experiment with the idea of allowing for greater freedom and distance between the vans especially when going through metro areas. The perceived stress we encounter trying to keep both vans in view while driving a busy freeway or city street needs to go. So we will simply trust in the GPS after route verification and meet each other at the planned destination(s). Once out of metro areas we are comfortable driving in our Two Van Caravan in a safe following distance.
Two things we missed most while out in the Promaster on the experimental four-month Solo adventure; 1) storage room, and 2) easier camp set up.
On point one, the additional storage room allows us to carry a month or so’s worth of paper goods purchased in bulk at any available Costco locations. As I type (September 2019) we are still working on bulk paper products we purchased last March. There is something to be said about the benefit of purchasing a 42-roll case of TP for the price of a dozen purchased elsewhere! BUT, there’s no room for that quantity in a typical single van build. The other thing the second rig allows is storage of seasonal items such as winter verses summer clothing, hiking gear, and similar. I will share that much of the ~300 or so pounds of ‘stuff’ packed in the Chevy was missed at some point during the Solo adventure in the Promaster.
Moving onto point two; ease of camp set up. One thing we built into the Chevy was a closet that functions as a bathroom area as needed. The comfort and ease of stepping into the “extra” van and using the bathroom/shower area verses doing so in a outdoor shower tent is nice. And though the pop-up fabric tent was an important part of the Solo trip, as I type the zipper has given out, fortunately only two days before picking up the Chevy from the paint shop.
The other bonus the Chevy gives is a second bedroom for those visits with one or both of our kids as time allows. Last May it was several days with our daughter in the Phoenix area, next year it is a planned visit at Padre Island National Seashore with our son out of Huston. For either it is as easy as packing their sleeping bag, clothes and hiking gear in their car and making the relatively short trip to the nearby campsite we’ve agreed upon for the meetup.
Over the years i built up a build thread at the Sportsmobile Forum worth checking out beyond what i’ve shared in this blog, though a warning; unfortunately most of the image links are broken as i sold the domain they were hosted on.
So there you have the two main reasons we travel in two vans. Other perks include being able to explore an area while leaving the Promaster set up in camp, and I get to listen to my ~100-hour trance/EDM playlist between camps! And of course, any Trance playlist worth listening to has a few Armin tracks 🙂